US Headed in Right Direction: Ace Greenberg

The country is headed in the right direction, Alan “Ace" Greenberg, former Bear Stearns chairman and CEO, told CNBC Friday.

“So much has been accomplished in thelast year and 1 month,” said Greenberg, whose once-revered investment bank, Bear Stearns, self-destructed during the financial crisis two years ago. “We were in terrible shape a year and 1 month ago, terrible.”

Greenberg said the government deserves credit for making money on investments connected to the bank bailouts. “It [money] was invested very wisely, I think the government will get back almost everything in TARP,” he added. TARP is the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

“I think people should remember that AIG’s bailout wasn’t under Obama, it was under the Bush administration. And even AIG , the loss is going to be much lessthat anticipated.”

Greenberg said that he thinks tax rates should rise for those making over $1 million annually. “The Republicans,” he said. “I don’t understand why they’re against raising taxes on the ultra-rich.”

This year Greenberg published The Rise and Fall of Bear Stearns, written with New Yorker writer and fellow Oklahoman, Mark Singer, which was, in effect, a rebuttal toHouse of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Streetby William Cohan.

The latter book was sharply critical of Greenberg's leadership at Bear and painted a dark portrait of Greenberg's miserly ways and rocky relationship with successor James "Jimmy" Cayne.